11 Key Farming Tips for Beginners
Farming to a non-farmer is all about growing crops and rearing animals. But to you who’s starting it as a profession, there’s a lot more you need to know.
Leaping into farming with no knowledge of the most basic farming tips can leave you frustrated and annoyed.
So, to get you started on this amazing journey, I have some tips handy for you.
Asides from knowing the common agricultural problems and their solutions, if your farming business is going to thrive, there are some specific things that you absolutely must have.
The good news is you can find out what they are in the post below. Some might even surprise you! Here are some key farming tips for total beginners.
1. Buy Land
First of all, before anything else, to run a successful agriculture business, you will need land to plant on.
Of course, not just any old land will do either. You will need land that has soil rich in nutrients to become a successful farmer.
You can even invest in fertilizers if your soil isn’t rich enough in nutrients as well.
Although it is always best to find a spot with good quality soil before you begin as there is only so much you can put back in.
2. Time and dedication
Another thing you will need to run a successful farm is time. This is because farming is labour-intensive work, that will have you up at the crack of dawn and working late into the night.
Indeed, if you are in a stage of your life where being social, and partying is particularly important to you, running your own farm business may not be the option right now.
However, if you really want to start making money from farming, you will need to put in the work.
In fact, unlike other businesses that can be largely automated to require no personal power, farming is a business that will require a great deal of personal dedication, if you want to succeed.
The next thing you need to run a successful agricultural business is the right equipment. Of course, the exact pieces you will need will depend on what you are growing.
There are also certain factors to consider before purchasing equipment for your business.
For example, farms specializing in growing fruit may wish to invest in automated pickers, while businesses focused on growing corn will need a combine harvester machine instead.
Most agricultural businesses will require equipment such as tractors, rotavators, and irrigation systems as well. Some may even need greenhouses, depending on the type of crops grown.
Bear in mind that even if you can’t afford to buy such pieces of equipment outright, you may be able to get them on hire purchase or lease them.
So, try to keep your overheads low but access the equipment your farm needs to run correctly.
4. Knowledge of farming
Last of all, to run a truly successful farm business you will need plenty of knowledge about your crops and the processes needed to grow them.
In particular, this means understanding the ins and outs of crop rotation, a method of growing that can help you minimize issues like pests and soil erosion, as well as maximize your crop.
The easiest way to get experience and knowledge in the farming venture you are about to undertake is by working under someone with years of experience in the business.
The truth is that you need preparation to enable you to adapt quickly to the unexpected that comes with farming.
Getting experience will hone your risk management skill and give you knowledge of what, how, when, and where to expend your resources when a situation occurs.
5. Lay out your goal, business plan, and everything you’ve got
It is easy to get land, have it cleared up, and start growing crops.
Anyone can do it. But as someone looking to take farming as a profession, you need to go beyond the basics. You need to do and know more!
To get started, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself. Giving an answer to these questions will enable you to see clearly your goals and direction to take.
- Have you conducted an analysis on the farming business you are about to take?
- What skills do you need in the farming line you are taking? What is your risk management skill? Do you have skills in strategic positioning and finance management?
- What is the viability of your marketing strategies, and what’s the stand on your production capacity and knowledge on the career you are taking on.
- Are you thinking of starting small? Do you have any sort of education on it?
Just like every other business, you need to have a vision and a clear path that gets to it.
You see, it’s easy to get frustrated as a newbie farmer. Economic, climatic, physical, technological, and political factors are all there to get you losing hope and focus.
The only way to evade it all is by knowing everything there is to know in the farming field you are getting on.
So, the first tip to know as a beginning farmer is that the journey won’t be so smooth, but having a spelt-out plan can guarantee you success.
A spelt-out plan gives you a detailed picture of your financial situation before you get too far in the farming path you have chosen.
6. Start Small
The urge to start big can be very irresistible. But as a beginner, don’t entertain the thought of it least you fall into regret.
Farming as a profession is most filled with the highest uncertainty and risk.
Anything can happen, and most of these things will be way beyond your control. So to be on the safe side, it is advisable that you start with something you know you would be okay with if a situation should occur.
Other than that, there is another reason for you to start on a small scale. You may not know this, but the farming business requires investment each year to keep it in operation.
Some of the money investments will be channelled into buying lands, pieces of equipment, crops/livestock, while the rest of the money invested will go into fuel and equipment maintenance, seeds and fertilizer; chemicals; and utility bills.
So even if you think you have enough investment to start in a big way, you still need to start in a small way to enable you to grasp the whole layout of how things will be if you later go big.
Just so you know, there are some other advantages to starting small. As a newbie farmer, small-scale farming gives you close supervision to the details of your farming business.
It also enables you to have a clear understanding of how demand works for your product. Along with this, there’s also the gain of easy management.
7. Join a Farmers Association
You must have heard the popular quote that “a tree can’t make a forest.” Well, it’s true.
As someone new to a venture, there’s one thing you need to know, and it’s that you cannot do it alone.
You need the support and wisdom from people with years of experience, and a farmer association happens to be the best place to find the experts you need to drive your business success.
As a beginner farmer, the first attempt at success at farming is what you need to drive your motivation. But what if there is less outcome as expected after giving farming the first try?
A farmer’s association is what you need as a preventive measure against this occurrence. Joining an association gives you exclusive access to relevant information on appropriate seasons and times as well as banned agrochemical products.
You also stand a chance to gain mentorship support from already successful farmers – this, of course, is one of the major benefits to gain.
In the farming business, you can never know enough. Each year of farming brings with it something new to learn.
Other benefits associated with joining an association include easy access to government funds and other agribusiness support.
This may include assistance on best farming practices, provision of farming facilities, escape from government overregulation, protection from trade relation policies, and provision of business and education resources.
8. Embrace Diversification
You may want to reconsider your thought of scrolling past this farming tip. It’s fine that you plan to find your niche and give your all to it.
But if you have a chance to diversify your farm, then one of the best ideas you can ever get is to go for it.
As you should know by now, farming comes with lots of risks that can’t easily be evaded.
Diversifying your farm will give you an edge over these risks by expanding your market and offsetting commodity price swings.
A farmer dealing in a variety of crops is less susceptible to collapse because the more variety of crops on your farm as a beginner means the more you are able to withstand tragedy if it occurs.
But as much as this is a bit of great advice for you as a beginner, it should only be adopted if you have knowledge of some variety of crops.
9. Lease Land
You may have had this idea in mind, but now that you know it’s a great farming tip, go for it.
New farmers love the idea of leasing land as it is a realistic way to cut down the cost of running a farm. And with time, you’ll come to love it too.
One of your biggest obstacles as a farmer is a lack of access to land. Land leasing gives you the opportunity to overcome this obstacle.
It is much cheaper to lease land than to buy it. So as you kick start your farming career, have it in mind to lease a farm.
Leave the idea of purchasing land until you have a track record of generating income with your farming career.
10. Get Familiar With The Land and Climate
When starting a farm, the most important thing to always look out for is the land and the climate condition of the place where the land is located.
The land you choose to farm on greatly determines what you farm, how you farm, and the level of your productivity.
Climate condition, on the other hand, is a big determinant of what you can raise and how far your productivity level will go.
Different crops require different land conditions and climates. So before deciding to lease land, it is crucial that you study everything about the environment.
You can get a soil sample and take it up for testing if you have the means to do so, but if you can’t, you can simply ask the locals around or fellow farmers about the land and climate of the place.
Always remember that moderate warming and more carbon dioxide are great for growing most plants (the highlight is most plants). High heat isn’t suitable for livestock farming, and extreme weather condition isn’t ideal for rearing fishes.
11. Water supply
You need access to a close-by water supply, and that has proper drainage as well.
You should get a water bore drilling company to come and sink a well for you. It will provide easy access to the water you will need to care for your crops.
Proper drainage will help you manage your water use as well. After all, you will want them to have enough but not too much as this can also cause problems such as rot!
The above farming tips for beginners may look like something sent to deter you from venturing into farming, but it is not what it looks like.
Healthy and sustainable farming practice is what an elder in the farming practice would want for a beginner.
So buckle up and go for it. The tips, as mentioned earlier, aren’t there to weaken your morals but to encourage and build you up as you begin your new farm.